Photo: “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” and the Bering family (Kat and James with their son Hudson) get in the holiday spirit with a special photo shoot at Warkentin Christmas Tree Farm. Photo courtesy of Kristle Snively/Manifesto Photography.
THE PARENTING BIZ – He’s “Making A List And Checkin’ It Twice” . .Christmas Gift Ideas To Put Under The Tree
By Dave Hall and Amber Shearer
With the holidays just around the corner and shopping already in full swing, it’s time for Biz X magazine to help parents hunting for the perfect present by pointing them in the right direction towards local stores offering a variety of gift ideas.
Most are locally owned and operated by parents, just like their customers. And these days it’s more important than ever to support local businesses.
Yet, even jolly Old Saint Nick may be stuck on what gifts to pack in his sack for all those good little boys and girls . . . so we’ve compiled a list of a few area businesses selling clothing, toys, games and services catering to children and families.
So sit back, grab a big glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate and your favourite cookie, and read up on gift ideas for the little ones and a few even mom and dad will enjoy too!
Gift Idea: A Picture Perfect Present
Photography sessions for newborns, infants, children and families have become so popular that Manifesto Photography Owners, Joshua and Arica Klassen, hired Kristle Snively to work almost exclusively on that part of their growing business.
Manifesto was established in 2007 and offers wedding and engagement photography, commercial photo shoots, personal branding, framing, and marketing campaigns as well as family sessions.
“Our family sessions have been increasing and we needed someone to take care of that side of the business,” Joshua informs us.
Snively, who was running her own business at the time, came on board 18 months ago.
“We offer everything from baby showers through to maternity shots, birth photos, six months and then one year-old shoots,” says Snively. “It’s a lot of fun for the family because we play a lot of games to keep the children engaged and active during the sessions.”
So what makes a photo shoot an ideal present for you to purchase for a family member? Snively points out that “It seems families want to record their child’s life through photos more than they ever have in the past.”
Manifesto offers gift certificates, which can be applied towards any of the company’s photographic, marketing and branding services.
“Our family photo sessions are probably the fastest-growing part of our business because people are more and more interested in recording different stages of their child’s life, from the baby shower through to their early years as a child,” explains Joshua. “Family portraits are a great gift as well.”
Gift Idea: The Bare Necessities — Clothing, Toys & Books
When Jessica Ryan became a sole bread-winner with four children, after her husband’s traffic accident left him unable to work, she decided she had to control her own destiny.
She was essentially a den mother at a trucking company, as well as a mother to four children at home, all under the age of 12.
“My husband and I had never worked a full year at the same time, between my maternity leaves and his accident, so I became a coupon queen to pinch every dollar I could,” explains Ryan. “From there, it was shopping at consignment shops until I realized I could do that too.”
Last December, she opened Siblings Children’s Consignment Shop at 818 Ottawa Street in Windsor, and despite shedding a few tears at times, she’s happy she took the plunge as a small business owner.
“I had a great September and I thought ‘I’ve got this’!” says Ryan who has three siblings and between them they have 13 children. Obviously there was no shortage of items to sell when the store opened!
Now, it’s packed with gently-used clothing, books and toys (making it easy to find something for the kiddies on your holiday shopping list) from customers across the city who bring their items in for consignment and then collect 40 percent of the sale price after the item is sold.
Anything that doesn’t sell is donated to Cuddles for Kids, a free children’s clothing drop-off centre on the city’s west side. Ryan also works with the Windsor Youth Centre on fundraisers.
“I tell my own kids if they want a toy, then they have to give a toy,” she adds. “I’m trying to teach them there’s money in hidden places and they just have to look for it.”
Ryan says she’s had a great deal of support from other consignment shop owners who have sent customers her way, as well as items to sell.
For further information see their facebook page.
Gift Idea: Spring For Trampoline Tickets
If you’re looking for something to help your children burn off some energy over the holidays, Springz Trampoline and Amusement Park
might be just the place.
In addition to jumping pits, trampolines and a dodgeball area, Springz also features an indoor golf course, an indoor go-kart track, an indoor arcade and a Ninja Forest.
“We are getting more popular all the time because parents are looking for ways to keep their children active, instead of being on the computer all day,” says General Manager Jason Kerluck. “Fall and winter are our busiest times, particularly with birthday and holiday parties, which give children and their parents a taste of what we have to offer.”
Operations Manager Meaghan Saunders says that Springz also offers a 30 day pass that allows access for 30 consecutive days, which is far less expensive than paying the daily rate for 30 days.
To help keep your child active and their friends as well, you can pre-buy tickets for the trampolines and other attractions online. Of course, gift certificates are also sold. A fun afternoon out is a great gift for any child or family!
Rest assured, while the kids are jumping, running and having a ball, safety always comes first.
“We take safety very seriously and sometimes, kids are upset with some of the rules, but I’d rather them be upset than hurt,” says Kerluck.
Kerluck reveals there is another Springz planned for the city’s east side, as well as another one in London. However, no opening dates have been announced.
Springz also offers special programming on school PA days, as well as dodgeball leagues for children of all ages.
With food and drink also available, there are plans to update the menu with more grilled items to supplement the fried foods and pop, for a healthier experience.
Springz, which is locally-owned, is situated at 2411 Dougall Avenue in Windsor.
Gift Idea: Retro Games To New Consoles & Everything In Between
How do you shop for the video game lover on your list that already has everything? You take them to The Game MD.
“We offer a wish list for Christmas,” says Owner Roy McLean. “We ask parents, grandparents and whoever, to bring the kids in and we give them a list and they get to go around the store and write down the top five things they would really like. Then they can come in and just point and say ‘I want this.’”
One thing that makes The Game MD one of Windsor’s top gaming stores this holiday season is their unique selection of niche products, (generally only found online) which are stocked in their store.“There’s a difference between ordering it online and seeing it for real,” describes McLean. “A lot of these older games and stuff, you might order it online and it’s in pristine condition, but when it shows up it’s all ratty and you are disappointed. But, seeing it in its actual condition when you are purchasing it, you see what you are getting.”
The Game MD sells pre-owned games and new releases, new and retro consoles, figurines, board games, pop culture collectibles, and more. As well, they provide a game console repair service.
The Game MD is located at 5452 Tecumseh Road East in Windsor. They also offer shipping for all of their products across the globe.
Gift Idea: Strollers, Dressers, Linens, Video Monitors & More
Everyone knows the struggle of finding the perfect gift for Christmas. Everyone also knows the struggle of shopping from a registry. This holiday season Three Lambs Registry & Baby Boutique’s registry system makes holiday shopping easy and enjoyable.
“Typically, shopping from a registry can be daunting,” says Owner Jeanine Jodoin. “Here the focus is on the people, who register, having a great experience and we also want the experience to be fantastic for their friends and family.”
At Three Lambs Registry & Baby Boutique parents and parents-to-be can turn their registry into a Christmas wish list of everything they need and friends and family can easily shop from it to purchase a wonderful gift.
No wish list to shop from? No problem. The boutique is the ultimate shopping destination with everything from high chairs and boosters, to rockers and cribs, to toys, keepsakes and books, skincare and everything in between.
“There’s nowhere else in town to shop around lots of different brands,” adds Jodoin. “We try to bring in everyone’s favourite brands under one roof.”
According to Jodoin, Three Lambs Registry & Baby Boutique is Southwestern Ontario’s largest independent baby store and the area’s only nursery furniture showroom. It is located at 13444 Tecumseh Road East, in the St. Clair Beach Plaza, in Tecumseh.
The boutique has been operating since 2015 previously from a different location, and Jodoin and her team are definitely keeping their customers happy with fantastic service and product selection, as both she and the boutique are 2018 Biz X Awards nominees.
Gift Idea: Cool Things To Wear, Toys, Furniture & Gear
Christmas shopping can be expensive and finding the ideal gift for the children on your list can be just as stressful. Children’s consignment boutique Gumballs & Overalls, 221 Sandwich Street South in Amherstburg, makes buying the best children’s gifts both easy and affordable.
“We offer everyone in the surrounding communities a great place to come in and purchase quality items at great prices,” says Owner Tracy DeWaal. “We make sure everything’s perfect before we put it out on the floor, so anyone looking to buy items can rest assured that it is in perfect condition.”
Gumballs & Overalls carries dozens of top children’s brands, all in one place, including baby furniture, toys, books, and top clothing brands for babies, kids and tweens.
“What we have found is that children’s products have become more and more high-end,” claims DeWaal. “So those are the items our consignors are bringing to us. We have now not only generalized items, but also those high-end items they are looking for. Rather it’s all the clothing brands you can find in a mall or the brands at Toys ‘R’ Us.”
According to DeWaal, Gumballs & Overalls is the Amherstburg’s premier consignment shop since 2004. Check it out for yourself this holiday season!
“City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks”
We hope this installment of “The Parenting Biz” has given you a few new stores to visit when you are out shopping for your treasures this holiday season. Keep in mind there are hundreds of area businesses stocking all kinds of products and this feature story is only a small sample of what Windsor Essex has to offer. And if you are still wondering what to purchase for those children who seem to have just about everything, gift certificates are an ideal choice too.
So get out there, shop your heart out, grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant and attend plenty of holiday events with the family. After all “It’s Christmas Time In The City!”